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Kenya Parks
 
 
 
Aberdares National Park
The Aberdares National Park is part of the Aberdares mountain ranges; the mountain range slopes on the western side of the wall, adjacent to the Rift Valley, are steep compared to the eastern slopes. The eastern slopes, due to its contour and altitude make it favorable to the wildlife habitat. The Aberdares Mountain ranges peak at a height of 4000 meters above sea level. Aberdares mountain ranges are part of Kenya's well-known mountains. Aberdares was confirmed a national park in 1950, two years after Amboseli National Park. The vegetation of the reserve is separated between the high moorland and the "Treetops and The Ark" Salient, where there is an abundance of wildlife. The mountainous moorlands have three peaks namely: The highest, Ol Doinyo Satima located on the northern edge, Kinangop in the south and Kipipiri near the "happy valley" in the west.
Mist and rain occur throughout much of the year, with precipitation varying from around 1000mm yearly on the north western slopes to as much as 3000mm in the south east. Heavy rainfall occurs through most of the year.
 
Amboseli National ParkĀ 
Amboseli lies immediately North West of Mt. Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. Amboseli was established as a reserve in 1968 and gazetted as a National Park in 1974. The Park covers 392 km2, and forms part of the much larger 3,000 Km2 Amboseli ecosystem. Large concentrations of wildlife occur here in the dry season, making Amboseli a popular tourist destination. It is surrounded by 6 communally owned group ranches. The National Park embodies 5 main wildlife habitats (open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland) and covers part of a pleistocene lake basin, now dry. Within this basin is a temporary lake, Lake Amboseli, that floods during years of heavy rainfall. Amboseli is famous for its big game and its great scenic beauty - the landscape is dominated by Mt. Kilimanjaron .The national park embodies several types of semi-arid vegetation and swampland/marshland. In general there is a gradient of vegetation from the bare lake bed, through grassland to Acacia woodland following a North -North West to South - South East pattern sandwiching the permanent swamps.Water flowing underground from Mt. Kilimanjaro upwells in a series of lush swamps and marshland which support sedges of Cyprus spp., including Cyprus papyrus and that provide dry season water and forage for wildlife.n These swamps are flanked by tracts of acacia woodland with yellow-barked acacia A. xanthophloea and A. tortilis. Acacia tortilis also occurs in the southern part of the park along on drainage lines.The basin is surrounded by acacia/commiphora bushland while the level floor of open plains with saline/alkaline soils supports thickets of salvadora persica and suaeda monoica. Grasses include needlegrass Aristida, fingergrass Digitaria, dropseed Sporobolus sp., stargrass Cynodon dactylon, and Phragmites mauritianus. Balanites aegyptiaca is important as a source of edible fruits, while the pods of Acacia tortilis are eaten by livestock.There has been a tremendous loss of woody vegetation that has been to various factors including the rise of water table, increase in salinity, off road driving by tour vehicles and destruction of vegetation by elephants.The climate is mainly hot and dry. Amboseli is in the rain shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The maximum average temperature of the warmest month is 33°C during the day, while that of the coldest is 27-28°C. An annual rainfall of 300mm per annum is distributed in two seasons: April/May and November/December. Recurrent droughts and potential evaporation of 2200mm per annum typifies the region
 
Arabuko Sokoke
Arabuko Sokoke was proclaimed a Crown Forest and gazetted in 1943. Part of the forest was gazetted as a strict nature reserve in the late 1960s. The reserve lies a few kilometers inland, between the towns of Kilifi and Malindi, 110 km north of Mombasa. It is the largest existing fragment of the tropical forests that covered much of the East African coast and is an important habitat for endemic/endangered birds, insects and mammal species.
 
The Arabuko Sokoke Forest is considered to be one of the most important sites for nature conservation in East Africa. It is the last large remnant of lowland coastal tropical forests with 11 threatened woody plants, The reserve is comprised of several distinct forest types.
 
Mixed forest in the east, on grey sands. This habitat is relatively dense with a diversity of tree species. Characteristic trees include Combretum schumannii, Drypetes reticulata, Afzelia quanzensis, Dialium oreintale, Humenaea verrucosa and Manilkara sansibarensis.
 
Brachystegia woodland runs in a strip through the approximate center of the forest on white, very infertile soil. This relatively open habitat is dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis. In the south-west and north-east , on red magarini sands is cynometra forest and thicket, dominated by cynometra webberi with manilkara sulcata, oldfieldia somalensis and brachylaena huillensis with mature trees approaching 15m height and a dense understorey. There are two areas of relatively tall cynometra forest with a canoppy height of up to 20m.
 
The dry north western part of the reserve is covered by a low dense and often almost impenetrable cynometra thicket with vegetation mainly comprising a thick shrub and sapling tangle from 3m to 6m tall with emergent trees (10m) of Brachylaena hutchinsii (threatened in Kenya); and white soil Cynometra-Afzelia forest, which borders the Cynometra thicket. Average annual rainfall ranges from 900mm in the dry and scrubby northwest to 1100mm in the east.
 
Bisande National Park
It acts as a wildlife dispersal area for Meru national park. It is a part of the Meru, Kora, Mwingi and Bisanadi conservation area.
The vegetation is mainly thorn bushland and thicket with Combretum prevailing in the north and Commiphora in the south. To the west the Combretum merges into Terminalia wooded grasslands. The red-flowered parasitic Loranthus grows on the branches of Acacia reficiens along the rivers. Dense riverine forests of doum palm Hyphaene spp. and raffia palm Raphia spp. occur along the watercourses. Some riverine swamps have sedges Cyperus sp., and grasses Echinochloa haplacelada and Pennisetum mezianum. On the plains Sehima nervosa, Chloris roxburghiana and other species of Pennisetum are the dominant grasses.
 
The climate is hot and dry.
 
Chyulu National Park
The Chyulu Hills are situated 190 km South-East of Nairobi and 30 km South-West of Kibwezi. They are of relatively recent volcanic origin and the range is composed of ash cones and craters. The hills hold no permanent surface water but rainfall percolating through the porus rock feeds many permanent fresh water sources in the surrounding plains, notably Mzima springs and the Tsavo and Galana rivers. The hills are relatively undisturbed and shelter indegenous vegetation and wildlife. The park comprises the eastern flank of the hills including about half of the forest area. The park boundary runs down the center of the hills along the line of the peaks. The western half is part of the West Chyulu Game Conservation area, owned by several Masai group ranches.
 
Rough grassland and thicket give way to patches of montane forest along the spine of the hills, mainly above the 1800m contour; the largest tract of forest is around the highest peaks in the central southern portion. Characteristic trees include ficus spp, Neoboutonia macrocalyx, Tabernaemontana stapfinaa, Prunus africana, Strombosia scheffleri, Cassipourea malonsana, Olea capensis and Ilex mitis with islands guarded by Erythrina abyssinica. Lower down there are areas of Juniperus procera forest and, particularly on lava flows, forest dominated by the blue-stemmed Commiphora baluensis. The hills have 37 species of orchids, mostly epiphytes supported by the heavy mists and the rare saprophyte epipogium roseum. Notable trees are Chionanthus mildbraedii and the most northerly population of Podocarpus usambarensis.
 
The climate is hot and dry.
 
Hell's Gate National Park
Hell's Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 km2 and is situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha about 90 km from Nairobi. The park is situated 14 km after the turnoff from the old Nairobi-Naivasha highway. It is characterised by diverse topography and geological scenery. It is an important home of the lammergeyer.
 
Park Gates:
Hell's Gate has two gates that are used by visitors i.e. the main Elsa Gate and the Olkaria Gate. The latter also serves the Olkaria Geothermal Station which is located inside the National Park.
Mainly grasslands and shrublands with the latter being dominated by Leleshwa and several species of acacia. There are also a wide variety of succulents in the area.
 
Warm and dry.    
 
Kisite Marine Park & Mpunguti Reserve
Kisite and Mpunguti Marine Parks are located on the south coast off Shimoni and south of Wasini Island in Kwale District on the south Kenyan coast near the Tanzanian border. Kisite park covers 11km2 while Mpunguti reserve covers 28 Km2. The complex covers a marine area with four small islands surrounded by coral-reef. Kisite island is a small waterless coral island, 8 km offshore in the Marine Park. Coral platforms around the raised central portion are exposed at low tide. The three other coral islets in the park (Mpunguti ya Juu, Mpunguti ya Chini and Liwe la Jahazi) lie closer to the larger Wasini Island, are scrub covered and support no significant wildlife or birds. The surrounding waters have well developed coral gardens and a large variety of fish.
 
Kiisite is flat and treeless, covered in low grass and herbs while Mpunguti Islands have dense coastal equatorial forest. Sea grasses Cymodocea serrulata and Syringodium isoetifolium cover a large area of the sub-littoral zone of the reef. Marine algae include Padina commersonii, Dictyota bartayresiana, Bostrychia binderi, Ulva lactuca, Dictyosphaora sp., Udotea indica, and Halimeda opuntia. Warm climate
 
Kisumu Impala Sanctuary
When the East African Railway reached Kisumu early in the Last century, the area must have been teeming with plains game. The passage of time saw hunting for the pot, ecosystem loss through human settlement and agriculture reduce numbers vastly. By the early 80s, what could be seen was a pitifully small herd of Impala that roamed the town and neighbouring areas.
 
The Sanctuary, a 0.4 square km of marsh, grassland and forest was created to provide a home for this herd of Impala. It then developed into a holding point for captured problem animals. Today, it provides grazing for Hippos and habitat for numerous small mammals, and a variety of reptiles and birds. It also hosts two leopards, one spotted hyena, two olive baboons and several vervet monkeys held in captivity. Sightings of the reclusive and acutely threatened Sitatunga have also been made.
 
Kiunga Marine National Park
Kiunga Marine National Reserve incorporates a chain of about 50 calcareous offshore islands and coral reefs in the Lamu Archipelago, running for some 60km parallel to the coastline off the northern most coast of Kenya and adjacent to Dodori and Boni National Reserves on the mainland. Composed of old, eroded coral, the islands mainly lie inland around 2km offshore and inshore of the fringing reef. They vary in size from a few hundred sq m to 100ha or more. Their walls rise sheer from the surrounding seabed and are usually deeply undercut on the landward side. The larger islands and the more sheltered inner islands are covered with low, tangled thorny vegetation including grass, aloes and creepers. The small outer islands provide nest sites for migratory seabirds. The reserve conserves valuable coral reefs, sea grass meadows and extensive mangrove forests, with their attendant biodiversity and is also a refuge for sea turtles and dugongs.
 
The islands consist of bare sharp edged spikes and ridges of coral on the seaward side with a little straggling vegetation such as saliconria and the succulent sanseveria.
On the landward side there is more vegetation including stunted thorny bushes of commiphora and salvadora persica. The coast itself has sandy beaches, some with mangrove swamps and a great variation of marine flora.
 
Microscopic marine plants are absent from the upper part of the intertidal zone except for areas of Bostrychia bindelia. In the intertidal sand and mud, the finer sediments below water, which are subject to less wave action, have become fixed by growth of marine angiosperms and there are extensive areas of dugong grass (green algae) and Zostera spp.
 
Dwarf shrub thickets of salt-tolerant plants (halophytes) typical of the Indo-Pacific beach littoral zone are common on the mainland, and species include Ipomoea pes-caprae, Cyperus maritimus, Suaeda, and Tephrosia. Mangrove swamps dominated by Rhizophora mucronata occur in the sheltered tidal waters between Mwanzi and Mkokoni.
The climate is hot and humid with rainfall around 500mm per year.
 
Kora National Park
 The Kora National Park was gazetted in 1973 as a reserve and gazetted as a park in 1990. It comprises of an area of a little over 1700 km2 This triangle of dense woodland and scrub is limited along its 65 km northern boundary by the Tana River, which rises in the highlands between Aberdares and Mount Kenya, before commencing its 700 km passage to the Indian Ocean. The western boundary follows a straight line from Tana River which a joint boundary with the adjacent Mwingi N. Reserve, while the eastern boundry runs along Mwitamyisi River.
 
The land surface slopes gently from an altitude of 490m in the south-west and about 270m in the north-east. Central areas comprise of an undulating peneplain through which Basement ridges protrude above the surface as rocky inselbergs the highest of which are Mansumbi 488 m, Kumbulanwa 450m and Kora Rock 442m. The park also has several seasonal rivers.
 
There are three major habitats of Kora whose distribution depends on physiography and water availability. Riverine habitats along the Tana are dominated by Doum palm, Acacia elator, Populus ilicifolium, Tamarindus indica and Ficus spp.. Alkaline soil areas are colonised by dense stands of the salt-bushes Salvadora persica and Sueda monica.
 
The second type of habitat is rock outcrops (inselbergs) filed with soil and gravel. Wind blown organic debris and sub-surface water allows unique fauna and flora to develop. A wide variety of trees and shrubs are established in the rock cracks and on talus. The inselbergs can be described as "terrestial islands" because of their restricted nature of trees, bushes shrubs and herbs growing on them.
The third type of habitat is dense bush or "Nyika" habitats which occupy 80% of Kora. The bushland is dominated by thick Acacia-Commiphora thickets, with 12 spp. of Acacia 12 species of commiphora.
   
 
Lake Baringo National Reserve
An abundant of birdlife with over 460 species recorded. Boat trip from your motorised dugout, complete with sunshade, you have a marvelous of the Laikipia Escarpment and the Tugen Hills. Schools of Hippo and Crocodile can be viewed.
 
LAKE BARINGO a fresh water lake, 50 Kms North of Lake Bogoria lying under the towering cliffs of the Laikipia Escarpment
 
Hot and Dry
 
Lake Bogoria National Reserve
Lake Bogoria is about 80km north of Nakuru town in the Great Rift Valley. Formely known as Lake Hannigton, this is one of the most beautiful of the Rift Valley lakes. It is a shallow soda lake, which was established as a National reserve in November, 1983. The reserve covers the whole lake and its surroundings
 
Lake Bogoria, known previously as Lake Hannigton, in Kenya’s Rift Valley is a region of great scenic beauty. To the east steep hills descend abruptly to the lake shore, whilst along the western shores, which are flatter, are a series of spectacular hot springs. It is a geological wonder no-one can afford to miss. Jets of steam and boiling water shoot out of geysers and fumaroles (holes in the ground) indicating the sort of volcanic activities which created the Great Rift Valley a very long time ago. The reserve includes the entire lake and its immediate surrounds and is some 114sq km (44sq miles) in area.
 
The Lake Bogoria area is best known for its Greater Kudu, to be seen mainly along the eastern shores, and for the very large concentrations of Lesser and Greater Flamingos which often frequent the lake. When the water levels in Lake Nakuru become low, thousands of both lesser and Greater flamingos migrate to Lake Bogoria. It is the best place in Kenya to see the greater Kudu which live on the western shores of the lake.
 
Usually dry through out the year
 
Lake Naivasha & Mt Longonot National Parks
The road to the region climbs over of the escarpment giving a spectacular view of the Great Rift Valley before descending towards the fresh Water Lake, sparkling in the sun thousands of feet below. Just an hour’s drive from Nairobi, Naivasha is one of the gems in a necklace of Rift Valley Lakes. LAKE NAIVASHA is the focus of activity. There’s good fishing for black bass and Tilapia and a boat trip during the day is recommended for a close up of Naivasha’s remarkable variety of birdlife and it’s Hippo colonies. You can see the lake in a different light on a romantic sundowner boat trip, which combines a sumptuous sunset with exotic drinks.
 
A visit to the crescent island should not be missed. It is one of the few places in Africa where you can wander on foot among herds of Zebra, Wildebeest, Gazelle and Giraffe. There are no fences and no predators. It is completely wild and undeveloped and preserved like a game park. The imaginative visitor will feel like a turn of the sanctuary explorer and the views of the Mau Escarpment and Mount Longonot are special.
 
Between Mount Longonot and Lake Naivasha stands Hell’s Gate. A half-day in Hell’s Gate National Park is another must. If you are fit you can hike or ride a bike. The setting is one of intense, recent volcanic activity where hot springs, steam jets and fumaroles are common. Full of gorges, cliffs, caves and towers, Hell’s gate is famous for its birds of its prey and its unique flora, which thrive on volcanic soil.
Naivasha is one of the world’s outstanding birding places with over 300 species on display. Other wildlife species in the area include Buffalo, Zebra, Giraffe, Eland, Chanlers reedbuck, Kongoni, Gazelle’s and Hippo.
Hot and Dry climate is generally prevalent.
 
Lake Naivasha National Park
The road to the region climbs over of the escarpment giving a spectacular view of the Great Rift Valley before descending towards the fresh Water Lake, sparkling in the sun thousands of feet below. Just an hour’s drive from Nairobi, Naivasha is one of the gems in a necklace of Rift Valley Lakes. LAKE NAIVASHA is the focus of activity. There’s good fishing for black bass and Tilapia and a boat trip during the day is recommended for a close up of Naivasha’s remarkable variety of birdlife and it’s Hippo colonies. You can see the lake in a different light on a romantic sundowner boat trip, which combines a sumptuous sunset with exotic drinks.
 
A visit to the crescent island should not be missed. It is one of the few places in Africa where you can wander on foot among herds of Zebra, Wildebeest, Gazelle and Giraffe. There are no fences and no predators. It is completely wild and undeveloped and preserved like game park. The imaginative visitor will feel like a turn of the sanctuary explorer and the views of the Mau Escarpment and Mount Longonot are special.
 
Between Mount Longonot and Lake Naivasha stands Hell’s Gate. A half-day in Hell’s Gate National Park is another must. If you are fit you can hike or ride a bike. The setting is one of intense, recent volcanic activity where hot springs, steam jets and fumaroles are common. Full of gorges, cliffs, caves and towers, Hell’s gate is famous for its birds of its prey and its unique flora, which thrive on volcanic soil.
 
Naivasha is one of the world’s outstanding birding places with over 300 species on display. Other wildlife species in the area include Buffalo, Zebra, Giraffe, Eland, Chanlers reedbuck, Kongoni, Gazelle’s and Hippo.
 
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru is a very shallow strongly alkaline lake 62 km2 in extent. It is set in a picturesque landscape of surrounding woodland and grassland next to Nakuru town. The landscape includes areas of marsh and grasslands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, stretches of acacia woodland and rocky hillsides covered with a Euphorbia forest on the eastern perimeter.
 
The lake catchment is bounded by Menengai crater to the north, the Bahati hills to the north east, the lion hill ranges to the east, eburu crater to the south and the mau escarpment to the west. Three major rivers, the njoro, makalia and enderit drain into the lake, together with treated water from the town's sewage works and the outflow from several springs along the shore.
 
Lake Nakuru was first gazetted as a bird sanctuary in 1960 and upgraded to National Park status in 1968. A northern extension was added to the park in 1974 and the lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990. The foundation of the parks food chains is the cyanophyte spirulina platensis which can support huge numbers of lesser flamingo.
 
The park has three gates, Main Gate and Lanet Gate that link the park with the Nairobi-Nakuru highway and the less used Nderit Gate.
 
The vegetation is mainly wooded and bushy grassland with a wide ecological diversity and characteristic habitats that range from the lake waters to the escarpment and ridges.
The normally water-covered surface of the lake occupies about a third of the park. The lake water supports a dense bloom of the blue-green cyanophyte Spirulina platensis from which it derives its colour and which is the major food source for the flamingo.
 
 
The lake is fringed by alkaline swamps with areas of sedge, Cyprus laevigatus and typha marsh along the river inflows and springs. The surrounding areas support a dry transitional savanna with lake margin grasslands of Sporobolus spicatus salt grass moving into grasslands of Hyparrhenia hirta and rhodes grass Chloris gayana in the lower areas.
 
More elevated areas have dry forest with Acacia xanthophloea, olive Olea hochstetteri and Croton dichogamus; Euphorbia candelabrum forest; and bushland dominated by the composites, mulelechwa Tarchonanthus camphoratus and Psiadia arabica.
 
Rocky hillsides on the parks eastern perimeter are covered with tarchonanthys scrub and a magnificent euphobia candelabrum forest.
 
 
Lake Turkana
In the far North lies LAKE TURKANA – “The Jade Sea”. It is set in the rugged moonscape of the Great Rift Valley, the largest of the Rift Valley lakes, an area torched over the eons by immense volcanic activities. It a place where mankind was born; harsh but beautiful; desolate but compelling. It a place for the traveller not for the tourist.
 
Lake Turkana may actually have been the “Cradle of Mankind”.
 
The existence of this great Lake which is 250kms long and nearly 60kms at the widest point, became known to the Western world in 1889 when Count Teleki returned to Zanzibar from an epic 3200kms journey of discovery which had taken 21 months (and during which he lost 40 KG in weight!). He had named the lake “ Rudolf” after the Austrian crown Prince, a name which remained until 1975 when it was changed to Turkana in owner of the most numerous of the people’s who live in the region.
 
The lake supports a huge number of Nile crocodile, the largest concentration in the world and flotillas of these reptiles are easy to see. Hippo, too are found in large colonies. SOUTH ISLAND, a hostile rock of 80 sq Kms is the largest of lake’s islands and supports a herd of roaming feral Goats. SIBILOI NATIONAL PARK located in the far north, covers 1570 km2 of wilderness scenic landscape. It is one of the world's greatest treasures, where the proof of man's origins was found. It was originally established by the National Museum of Kenya to protect unique prehistoric and archaeological sites.
 
In the 1960's Dr. Richard Leakey led an expedition to this remote area near Kenya's border with Ethiopia, and discovered some of the earliest hominid traces ever at KOOBI FORA now credited as some of the most important paleontological finds of the 20th Century.
 
In the 1960's and 1970's over 160 fossil remains of early man including Homo Habilis and Homo Erectus were discovered, placing man's origins to three million years. Over 4,000 fossil specimens of mammal and Stone Age artefacts have been discovered here.
 
The locations of the most important finds can be visited. Four particular treasures are the shell of a giant tortoise dating back 3 million years, a set of jaws over 5ft. Long from a crocodile believed to have been over 45ft. in length and the extinct Behemoth, forebear of the elephant with massive tusks, both dating back 1.5 million years and the hominid (early man) finds.
 
Game includes the rare Striped Hyena, leopard, lion, cheetah, hippo, plains and Grevy's Zebra, Topi, Oryx, Lesser Kudu and Grant's Gazelle.
 
Near it is Lake Turkana, which is 265kms. long with an average width of 3Okms.
 
Other Parks around are; Central & South Island National Parks and Malkamari National Park located on the northeastern border with Ethiopia.
 
There are two all-weather Airstrips.
At the Southern tip of the Lake is a small settlement called Loiyangalani – named after a scanty shrub of the area – and nearby is a genuine oasis where fresh water gushes from the hot rocks and doum palms provide shade and comfort form the scorching sun.
 
Lake Victoria
Africa’s largest Lake and the second largest fresh water lake in the World. This great lake has romantic associations as the source of the river Nile, ever since explorers such as Speke and Burton came to the area at the end of the last century.
 
Lake Victoria is a perfect place to combine with your safari. It is 50 minutes by air from Nairobi and 40 minutes charter flight from the Masai Mara followed by a relaxing 15minutes-boat ride along the tropical shoreline.
Lake Victoria provides a unique opportunity to see the colourful life on the lake, where enchanting Lou fishing villages have not changed in centuries. For those interesting in fishing it is excellent, You can also enjoy walks through lush vegetation on top of the hills or along the lakeshore. For those interested in culture, there is a possibility to visit a Luo family and experience their day to day life or the school in the next village.
Lake Victoria is a perfect place for nature lovers, and is particularly recommended as a relaxing retreat for honeymooners.
 
Fishing, Impala Sanctuary,
 
Ruma National Park – a small but attractive park with many unique species,
 
Rusinga Island – it was here that a 3 million-year-old scull of Proconsul Africanus was uncovered, Big game fishing Camps
 
Mfangano Island – pre-historic rock paintings, Big game fishing Camps,
 
Ndere Island National Parks – snakes, hippos, crocodiles and several species of waterfowl.
 
The lush hillside surrounds are abundant with indigenous plants and flowers. In the early morning, fleets of multi coloured fishing boats gracefully sail past the bay, and in the evening spectacular sunsets are seen as the sun dips below the unbroken lake horizon.
 
Losai National Reserve
Losai National Reserve which covers an area of 1806 km2 is a wilderness semi-desert landscape characterised by rocky hills, open plains and riverine woodlands that snake along seasonal rivers .
 
Medium thorn bushland with semi-desert and riverine woodlands.
 
The climate is hot and dry.
 
Maasai Mara National Reserve
The Maasai Mara National Reserve came into being in 1961. The Maasai Mara is a National Reserve and not a National Park, the difference being that people (the Maasai) have a right to graze on the land and shoot animals if they are attacked.  It is usually run by a local government authority, and protected by council by-laws.
 
Every year the Mara plays host to the spectacular Great Natural Migration of a million wildebeest and thousands of zebra and antelopes from the Serengeti into the Mara. The migration takes place between July and September each year. Lions, hyenas, cheetahs, hunting dogs and other predators follow the migration, ensuring only the fittest survive. In November, once the grazing has finished, the animals move back to the greener pastures of the Serengeti, where they calve  and mate before starting the entire cycle again.
 
Gates:
Oloololo Gate - On the northern-most border.
Musiara Gate - On the upper north-eastern border.
Talek Gate - Towards the middle of the north-eastern border.
Sekenani Gate - On the lower north-eastern border.
Ololaimutiek Gate - On the eastern-most border.
Sand River Gate - Towards the southern end of the south-western border.
 
Wildlife:
The Big Five (Lion,Buffallo, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant)
Wilderbeasts, Zebra, Gazzelle,Cheetah,Buffallos,Hyenas,Warthogs,Jackals
 
Birds:
Short toed snake Eagle, Lappet faced Vulture, hooded Vulture, Saddled billed oxpecker, Denham's bustard, Watted Plover, Ground Hornbill, African Marsh Owl, Secretary Bird, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Little Bee Eater, African White Backed Vulture, Lilac breasted Roller.
 
Early in the year -January, February- it is usually dry with the grass cropped short, but there is still a tinge of green from the rains that fell at the end of previous year. April is the month of long rains. The rains make the grass grow green and tall. With the grazing and water plentiful, the game moves in different directions.
 
Most of the year it is sunny and warm. The long rains usually come in April and May, and the short rains in November. July, August are usually cold months (although in recent years the weather has become quite unpredictable). December and January are hot months. The average daily temperatures are between 20 - 30 degree Celsius, although they can vary.
 
Malindi National Park and Reserve
The Malindi Marine National Reserve encloses Watamu and Malindi Marine National Parks. The area also includes several coral islets, notably Whale island at the entrance to Mida Creek in the Watamu Marine National Park. The reserve is 213 km2 forming a complex of marine and tidal habitats on Kenyas North Coast. It extends 5 km into the sea and stretches 30 km along the coast from Malindi town to beyond the entrance to Mida creek. Habitats include intertidal rock, sand and mud; fringing reefs and coral gardens; beds of sea grass; coral cliffs, platforms and islets; sandy beaches and mangrove forests. Mida creek is a large, almost land locked expanse of saline water, mangrove forest and intertidal mud protected in the Watamu Marine Reserve. Its extensive forests are gazetted as forest reserves and the extreme western tip of Mida Creek is part of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve.
 
Malindi Marine Parks' unique historical features inlude Vasco da Gama pillar build slightly over 500 years ago.
 
Coral reefs are among the richest, diverse and biologically productive ecosystems, with more organisms per square meter than any other type of ecosystem in the world. A total of 140 species of hard and soft corals have been recorded along the Kenya coast. These corals live in symbiosis with chlorophyll generating animals, which give corals their spectacular colours.
 
Mida Creek has important mangrove forests with a high diversity of species including ceriops tagal, rhizophora mucronata, bruguiera gymnorrhiza, avicennia marina and sonneratia alba.
 
Coral reefs are among the richest, diverse and biologically productive ecosystems, with more organisms per square meter than any other type of ecosystem in the world. A total of 140 species of hard and soft corals have been recorded along the Kenya coast. These corals live in symbiosis with chlorophyll generating animals, which give corals their spectacular colours.
 
 
Malka Mari National Park
Malka Mari National Park lies along the Daua river on the Kenya-Ethiopia border in the extreme north east of Kenya on the Mandera plateau. It was gazetted in 1989 due to its reportedly high concentration of wildlife but has not been developed. The area is largely semi arid bushland and scrubby grassland with riparian woodland and palms along the daua river. The area is also considered a site for plant endemism.The climate is hot and dry.
 
Maralal National Reserve
This is one of the best places where you can go for trekking safari, Camel safaris, and walking safaris. This is up in the desert and it’s extremely hot. It is in this town where the only camel Derby in the world for both amateur and professionals is held. This is an annual event which takes place in the summer, attracting not only the parctipants but also spectators from all the corners of the earth. Here you will bump into real characters. In the evening everyone retires to Yare safaris club and campsite for a long hard party sure enough to last till down. The event is open to everyone.
 
You can visit “Kenyatta’s House” – where Jomo Kenyatta was last detained before becoming Kenya’s first president (it's now a National monument).
 
This is the only place where the Annual Camel Derby event takes place in the month of October for both amatures and proffesionals from all over the world.
 
At a place called Losiolo Escarpment the Great Rift Valley wall is almost overwhelming, also known as ‘World’s End’. Here the Rift Valley wall plunges more than 2000m sheer down into the Suguta Valley - the longest sheer drop in the Rift Valley The panorama of the wall here is totally breathtaking for it is so sheer and vast.
 
The area has dry and rocky terrain with scattered shrubs.Thorny scrubs cover much of the reserve and the most common are Acacia elator, Acacia tortolise, Salvadora pesica and the Down palms. The climate for the area is hot dry with cool nights with an average annual maximum temperature of 30ºc (86F) and minimum annual temperature of 20ºc (68F).
 
Marsabit National Reserve
Marsabit National Reserve covers an area of 1500 km2 and consists of a forested mountain that rises like an oasis in the middle of the desert wilderness and is the only source of permanent surface water in the region.
The reserve has three spectacular crater lakes that provide habitat for a variety of birdlife. One of the lakes, Lake Paradise, is most scenic and famous from early films and writings of Martin Johnson and Vivien de Wattville.
 
Marsabit reserve is also known because of large elephants like the famous Ahmed, an elephant that was provided with a 24 hour protection by a presidential order. Ahmed, who boasted some of the biggest tusks ever recorded, died at age 55, and his body was preserved and is now on display in Nairobi National Museum.
 
The upper zone of the mountain is dominated by Brown Olive forest, the middle zone; Olea capensis, Diospyros abyssinica and Teclea sp. forest with Acacia grassland and Combretum at lower altitudes. The lower zone is arid thorn brushland.
 
Meru National Park
Meru is a savanna National Park, 35km east of Meru town in the north eastern lowlands below the Nyambeni hills. Meru is part of a complex of protected areas along the Tana river that includes the adjacent Bisanadi and Mwingi National Reserves (to the east and south respectively), Kora national park and Rahole national reserve. The wetter North Western sector is hilly, with rich volcanic soils. The land flattens towards the East, where grey alluvial volcanic soils appear.
 
The area is crossed by numerous permanent streams, draining from the Nyambenes and flowing in parallel between tounges of lava, south eastwards towards the Tana River. As well as the many streams that cross it, the park is bounded by three large rivers: the Tana to the South, the Ura to the South West and the Rojeweru to the East. There are several prominent inselbergs of basement rock, notably Mughwango and Leopard rock. A section of the park has been designatd as a wilderness area in which are no roads. The park is part of the domain made famous by the writings of Joy Adamson.
 
The road network in the park has recently been upgraded. However due to the nature of soil, some roads are easily destroyed by vehicles during the rains.
 
Most of the park is covered by bush, thornbush and wooded grassland of varying densities with Combretum prevailing in the north and Commiphora in the south. In the extreme north there is a small remnant outliner of rain forest, the Ngaia forest.
 
The vegetation on the ridges is Combretum wooded grassland, dominated by Combretum apiculatum. This grades into acacia wooded grassland to the east with acacia tortilis and acacia senegal on the rocky ridges, in riverine thickets and dotted over open country. To the west the Combretum merges into Terminalia wooded grasslands.
 
On the plains Sehima nervosa, Chloris gayana, Chloris roxburghiana, and other species of Pennisetum are the dominant grasses.
 
Dense riverine forests of doum and raffia palms Hyphaene and Raphia spp. grow along the watercourses and in the swamps near the rivers. Along the Tana river is found the Tana river poplar, populus ilicifolia. Other riverine trees include phoenix reclinata, ficus sycomorus, newtonia hildebrandtii, acacia elatior and acacia robusta. The red-flowered parasitic Loranthus grows on the branches of Acacia reficiens trees along the rivers.
There are numerous riverine swamps with sedges Cyprus sp. and grasses Echinochloa haplacelada and Pennisetum mezianum.
 
Mombasa Marine National Park & Reserve
The park is 10 km2 while the reserve is 200 km2. Both the park and reserve are the most highly utilised among marine protected areas . Their coastline is heavily developed with tourist facilities.
There are various agents who offer for hire boats to get into the Marine Park. There are quite a good number of companies offering water sports facilities. These firms are spread along the beach. The place is ideal for diving. Diving gears are easily available from water sports desks.
 
Mombasa itself is a mix of traditional and modern culture. The 17th Century Fort Jesus, which was used as a Fort by the Portuguese against Sultan invasion after which they (Portuguese) were eventually evicted after a two year siege, is within the Island which is a few minutes drive from the marine park. Mombasa Old Town is highly dominated by swahili culture especialy architecture.
 
Common Vegetation: Mangroves, Sea grasses, Sea weeds
 
Warm climate
 
Mount Elgon National Park
 Mt. Elgon is Kenya's second highest mountain. It lies 140km North East of Lake Victoria and is bisected by the Kenya-Uganda border. It is an ancient eroded volcano with a huge caldera and, on its summit, the spectacular flat topped basalt column known as Koitobos. Another unique feature of the mountain is the lava tube caves, some over 60m wide and frequented by elephants (and other animals) digging for salts. The mountain soils are red laterite. Mt Elgon is an important water catchment for the Nzoia river which flows into Lake Victoria and for the Turkwel river which flows into Lake Turkana.
 
Mt Elgon National Park was gazetted in 1968 and covers a narrow transect up the North Eastern slopes of the mountain, from lower montane forest to the caldera edge. The remaining forest and moorland is part of the Mt Elgon Forest Reserve. The Ugandan side of the mountain is protected within Uganda's Mt Elgon National Park.
 
There are four park gates i.e. Chorlim main gate, Kassawai, Kiptogot and Kimothon.
 
The vegetation varies with altitude. The mountain slopes are covered with olive Olea hochstetteri and Aningueria adolfi-friedericii wet montane forest. At higher altitudes, this changes to olive and Podocarpus gracilior forest, and then a Podocarpus and bamboo Arundinaria alpina zone. Higher still is a Hagenia abyssinica zone and then moorland with heaths Erica arborea and Philippia trimera, tussock grasses such as Agrostis gracilifolia and Festuca pilgeri, herbs such as Alchemilla, Helichrysum, Lobelia, and the giant groundsels Senecio barbatipes and S. elgonensis.
 
The botanical diversity of the park includes giant podocarpus, juniper and Elgon olive trees cedar Juniperus procera, pillarwood Cassipourea malosana, elder Sambucus adnata, pure stands of Podocarpus gracilior and many orchids.
 
Of the 400 species recorded for the area the following are of particular note as they only occur in high altitude broad-leaf montane forest: Ardisiandra wettsteinii, Carduus afromontanus, Echinops hoehnelii, Ranunculus keniensis, (previously thought endemic to Mount Kenya), and Romulea keniensis.
 
Mount Kenya National Park
Mt. Kenya is an imposing extinct volcano dominating the landscape of the Kenyan Highlands, East of the Rift. Mt. Kenya lies about 140 km North, North-East of Nairobi with its Northern flanks across the Equator. The mountain has two main peaks - Batian (5200m) and Nelion (5188m). The mountains slopes are cloaked in forest, bamboo, scrub and moorland giving way on the high central peaks to rock, ice and snow. Mt. Kenya is an important water catchment area, supplying the Tana and Northern Ewaso Ngiro systems.
 
The park includes a variety of habitats ranging from higher forest, bamboo, alpine moorlands, glaciers, tarns and glacial morains.
 
This varies with altitude and rainfall, and there is a rich alpine and sub-alpine flora.
 
Between 1200m and 1850m, the vegetation is mainly dry upland forest comprising of Croton associations. Juniperus procera and Podocarpus spp. are predominant in the drier parts of the lower zone (below 2,500m), with rainfall between 875 and 1400mm (Naro Moru and Sirimon tracks on the western slopes). In wetter areas (over 2200mm/year) in the south-west and north-east, Cassipourea malosana predominates.
Higher altitudes (2,500-3,000m with rainfall over 2000mm/year) are dominated by a dense belt of bamboo Arundinaria alpina on south-eastern slopes, and a mosaic of bamboo and Podocarpus milanjianus with bamboo at intermediate elevations (2,600-2,800m), and Podocarpus at higher and lower elevations (2,800-3,000m) and (2,500-2,600m).
 
Towards the west and north of the mountain, bamboo becomes progressively smaller and less dominant. There are also areas in zones of maximum rainfall 2,000-3,500m with up to 2,400mm/year, where Hagenia abyssinica with H. revolutum predominate.
 
Above 3,000m, cold (low temperatures) become a more important factor, tree stature declines, and Podocarpus is replaced by Hypericum spp. A more open canopy here results in a more developed understorey. Many of the trees are festooned with rnosses. Grassy glades are common especially on ridges. High altitude heath between 3,000m and 3,500m is characterised by shrubs with small leaves like African sage, Protea and Helicrysum.
 
The lower alpine or moorland zone (3,400-3,800m) is characterized by high rainfall, a thick humus layer, low topographic diversity, and low species richness. Tussock grasses Festuca pilgeri, and sedges Carex spp. predominate. Between the tussocks there are Alchemilla cyclophylla, A. johnstonii, and Geranium vagans. Above the 3500m contour is the Afro-alpine zone, a moorland characterised by tussock grasses, senecios and lobelias.
 
The upper alpinezone (3,800-4,500m) is more topographically diverse, and contains a more varied flora. Many of the species here are bizarre, especially the giant rosette plants Lobelia telekii and L. keniensis, Senecio keniodendron and Carduus spp.. Senecio brassica is found in both the lower and upper alpine zone.
 
There are a variety of grasses on well-drained ground and along the streams and river banks such as megaphytic Senecio battescombei and Helichrysum kilimanjari.
 
Continuous vegetation stops at about 4,500m although isolated vascular plants have been found at over 5,000m. There are 13 species endemic to Mount Kenya listed in Hedberg,(1951).
   
 
Mount Longonot National Park
The name Longonot is derived from the Masai word Oloonong'ot meaning mountains of many spurs or steep ridges. Longonot park covers 52 km2 most of it being occupied by Mt. Longonot a young volcano rising to 2.776 meters above sea level. The sides of the mountain have beautiful V-shaped valleys and ridges. The stony soils have little vegetation but the crater has an impenetrable forest.
Due to the nature of the terrain Mt Longonot has no roads and visitors hike to the top and rim of the crater.
 
The dominant biotic community represented in the park is evergreen and semi evergreen bushland. The dominant vegetation type is Cymbopogon, Themedea, Tarchonanthus, Acacia dwarf shrubland. Higher altitude areas are covered with thicket and giant heath proteas. The crater floor is covered by vegetation dominated by Digitaria, tarchonanthus, Faurea shrubland.
 
Mwea National Reserve
Mwea National Reserve covers 48 km2 between and up to the confluence of Tana and Thiba rivers and is located 100km north west of Nairobi and just east of the Masinga reservoir. The reserve was created in 1975 as a wildlife sanctuary and is owned by the Mbeere county council and managed with assistance from KWS and Mwea National Reserve Conservation Trust. The reserve contains within its borders part of the Kamburu reservoir including two small islands.
 
The vegetation is primarily thorn bushland with thick bush and scattered trees lining the waterfront and thinning out to open glades further up the slope. Richer scrub and woodland line seasonal rivers and streams. The plants are typical of acacia commiphora woodland including many combretum species and trees of arid country such as Boscia angustifolia and Balanites aegyptiaca. There are also scattered baobabs, Adansonia digitata.
 
Nairobi National Park
The 117 km2 Nairobi National Park is unique by being the only protected area in the world with a variety of animals and birds close to a major city. As expected, the park is a principal attraction for visitors to Nairobi. The park also serves many residents and citizens living in the city.
 
The park has a diversity of environments with characteristic fauna and flora. Open grass plains with scattered acacia bush predominant. The western side has a highland dry forest and a permanent river with a riverine forest. In addition, there are stretches of broken bush country and deep, rocky valleys and gorges with scrub and long grass. Man-made dams have also added a further habitat, favourable to certain species of birds and other aquatic biota. The dams also attract water dependent herbivores during the dry season.
 
The park has diverse birdlife with 400 species recorded. However all species are not always present and much depends on season. Northern migrants pass through the park primarily during late March through April.
Nairobi National Park is one of the most successful of Kenya's rhino sanctuaries that is already generating a stock for reintroduction in the species former range. Due to this success, it is one of the few parks where a visitor can be certain of seeing a black rhino in its natural habitat.
 
To the south of the park is the Athi-Kapiti Plains and Kitengela Migration Corridor. These are vital areas for herbivores disperse over them during the rains and concentrate in the park in the dry season.
The park has six gates, the main gate at KWS headquarters, East Gate, Cheetah Gate, Lang'ata Gate, Maasai Gate and Banda Gate. The last two are service gates and therefore not used by tourists.
 
The vegetation is primarily dry savanna, open grass plains with scattered acacia bush predominate. The park also has a permanent river with a riverine forest.
 
The western upland areas has an upland dry forest with stands of Olea africana and Croton dichogamus/Brachylaena hutchinsii and calodendrum. The lower slopes are a grassland composed of such species as: Themeda, Cyprus, Digitaria, and Cynodon with scattered yellow-barked acacia Acacia xanthophloea. In addition there are stretches of broken bush country and deep rocky valleys and gorges with scrub and long grass.
There is gallery forest in the valleys, predominantly Acacia spp., and Euphobia candelabrum. Other tree species include Apodytes dimidiata, Canthium schimperanum, Elaeodendron buchananii, Newtonia sp., Ficus eriocarpa, Aspilia mossambicensis, and Rhus natalensis.
 
Several plants growing on the rocky hillsides are unique to the Nairobi area including euphobia brevitorta, drimia calcarata, murdannia clarkeana and the crassula sp.
 
January to March is hot and dry, while from April to June it is hot and wet, a period known as the "long rains". From July until October the weather is very warm and dry, and then come the "short rains", making November and December warm and wet.
 
 
Ndere Island National Reserve
Ndere Island, a newly gazetted park, covering an area of 4.2 km2 is an island just off the northern shore of Lake Victoria and was opened in November 1986. Ndere means "meeting place" in the language of the local Luo tribe. According to the Luo folklore, Kit Mikayi, mother of the tribe, rested up near Ndere after her long journey south down the Nile valley. She found the lush shorelines so pleasing that she and her people stayed.
The vegetation on the island is primarily glades in upland areas and a fringing woodland along the shores that also provides a habitat for the tse-tse fly.
 
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
Ol Donyo Sabuk is a mountain park located to the south-east of Thika town 65 km from Nairobi and 5km away from the Fourteen Falls. The park comprises of forested slopes, ravines and the 2144m summit from where one can see Mt. Kenya, Mt. Kilimanjaro and the surrounding lowlands including Nairobi city.
 
The lower slopes of the hill are dominated by acacia bushland and thicket. The upper forest is a remnant of a once-common montane forest type dominated by Olea, Podocarpus, Ficus spp and Croton.
 
Ruma National Park
Ruma was first gazetted in 1966 as Lambwe valley game reserve and acquired national park status in 1983. The park was established mainly to protect the Roan antelope which does not occur anywhere else in the country.
 
The soils are largely black cotton clay. The surrounding area is settled, with a mix of small scale cultivation and grassy pasture land.
 
The terrain is mainly tall rolling grassland, with tracts of open woodland and thicket vegetation dominated by Acacia spp.. The woodlands in the lowlands and river courses are dominated by species of acacia and balanites.
 
Saiwa Swamp National Park
Saiwa is the smallest park in Kenya, only 3 km2. It was established to protect the semi-aquatic antelope Sitatunga and encloses the swamp fed by the Saiwa river together with its fringing belts of rain forest. The park is enclosed by subsistence farming settlements.
 
Vegetation is a mixture of forest and swamp vegetation. The swamp is dominated by tall bullrushes and sedges. The swamp is bordered by a mixture of grassland, riverine forests and Acacia.
 
Samburu National Reserve
The three Reserves are about 325Kms from Nairobi and 50Kms from Isiolo town. They lie on the ecological zone with a hot and dry climate during the day and cool at night. The Uaso Nyiro River traverses the Samburu and Buffalo springs. The three reserves form the Samburu/Isiolo complex, a trio of beautiful Game sanctuaries. There are birds and vervet monkeys every where and Dik diks wander freely. The landscape, wildlife and vegetation is every different to the lush, rolling grasslands of other National Parks. Samburu is the place for Leopard, Lions, Elephants and Crocodiles.
 
It is a place of the semi nomadic Samburu people. A place of thorn brush, open plains and vast horizons. It gives you a taste of the romance of the desert. Night brings it’s own special atmosphere with a different cast of characters and strange new noises. Frogs and Insects provide a background chorus.
 
They lie on the ecological zone with a hot and dry climate during the day and cool at night.
 
Shaba National Reserve
Shaba is part of three small adjoining savanna national reserves that lie on either side of the Northern Ewaso Ngiro River, 340km North, North East of Nairobi (Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba). They were established in 1948 as the Samburu Isiolo Game Reserve, part of the once extensive Marsabit National Reserve. Now they are managed by their respective county councils, Samburu and Isiolo. The reserve consists of a low lying, semi arid plain on the southern bank of the Northern Ewaso Ngiro river. It lies 9 km east of buffalo springs national reserve, from which it is separated by the main road from isiolo to marsabit. The reserve was gazetted in 1974 and is administered by the Isiolo CC. Its Northern section includes a 34km stretch of the Ewaso Ngiro river; here and elsewhere in the reserve are numerous springs and swampy areas, although some have bitter tasting water. The starkly beautiful landscape is dominated by Shaba hill to the south, at the foot of which is a rugged area with steep ravines. The sandy soils are volcanic in origin.
 
The vegetation in the reserve includes; thicket with patches of Acacia tortilis woodland; riverine woodland and forest dominated by patches of Acacia elatior and doum palm, Hyphaene coriacea; bushland and open areas of lava rock with scattered grass and shrubs, dominated by communties of Commiphora spp. with Ipomoea, Grewia, Acacia senegal and Salvadora; and Sporobolus spicatus alkaline grasslands dotted with springs and swamps.
 
Shimba Hills National Reserve
The Shimba Hills were gazetted as a National Forest in 1903, grassland areas were incorporated in 1924 and several subsequent extensions took place to bring the Reserve to its present size. In 1968 most of the Reserve was double gazetted as the Shimba Hills National Reserve. Two smaller areas to the west adjoining the reserve and almost entirely forested remain as Forest Reserves; Mkongani North and Mkongani West Forest Reserve. A fenced elephant corridor connects the Shimba Hills with Mwaluganje Forest Reserve to the North.
 
The Shimba hills are a dissected plateau that ascends steeply from the coastal plains, 30 km south west of Mombasa and just south of Kwale town. The surrounding escarpment rises from around 120m to 300m across the bulk of the plateau and as high as 450m at Marare and Pengo hills. The underlying rocks are the Triassic Shimba Grits and in the north central part near Kwale town Pliecone Magarini sands. Rivers flowing from the hills supply fresh water to Mombasa and the Diani/Ukunda area.
 
The Shimba Hills hold one of the largest areas of coastal rain forest in East Africa after Arabuko Sokoke. The vegetation consists of forested scarp slopes and undulating grasslands interspersed with woodland clumps and ribbons of riverine forest in the steeply cut valleys.
 
The biggest single patch of the forest is in the south western sector. Tall milicia forest is found on the deep soils of the plateau top and the western escarpment and mature afzelia erythrophloeum forest cover much of the eastern and southern escarpment where the plateau drops to a low-lying area. On steep scarp slopes to both east and west is forest dominated by Chlorophora and Paramacrolobium, a relic forests from an era of much heavier rainfall in Kenya.
 
Further east and north the forest breaks up into a a mosaic interspersed with scrubland dominated by Lantana and Vernonia, wooded grassland with Syzygium and Hyphaene and open grassland with numerous species including orchids. In the lower western sector of the plateau is coastal bushland with Manilkara Combretum forest.
 
A total of 1100 plant taxa are recorded, around 280 of which are endemic to the area and 19 threatened tree species. Notable tree species include polyceratocarpus sp, uvariodendron sp, cephalosphaera usamabarensis, diospyros shimbaensis, phyllanthus sacleuxii, pavetta tarennoides, synsepalum kassneri, bauhinia mombassae.
 
Two Kayas (forests of spiritual and ceremonial significance) are situated within the National Reserve.
 
Sibiloi National Park
Sibiloi National Park covers 1570 Km2 of wilderness scenic landscape on the shores of Lake Turkana. The park was partially established through the initiative of National Museums of Kenya to protect unique prehistoric and archeological sites some of which are linked to the origin of man. The fossils include a crocodile Euthecodon brumpti giant tortoile Petusios broadleyi, elephant Elephas recki and the petrified forest. The terrain is lake shore, dry semi desert bush and near desert country. The park is waterless apart from the alkaline waters of the lake.
 
The vegetation is primarily grassy plains with yellow spear grass and doum palms.
 
SOUTH ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
South island is 39 sq km.Established in 1983 to protect its population of crocodile, hippo and venomous snakes, this unique island is actually the actual crescent rim of a submerged volcano. Covered end to end in volcanic ash, the nightly glow of its luminous vents has inspired numerous tales of ghosts and evil spirits.
 
Turkana is home to some of the world’s most venomous reptiles, including saw scaled viper, night and puff adder and cobra. There are also many species of fish including huge Nile perch and large tilapia. Puffer fish, a group normally found in seawater, indicate Turkana’s prehistoric connection to the red sea.
 
The islands are home to a profusion of birdlife {over 84 water bird species}, including 34 species of European migrants most spectacularly viewed as they return home between march and may. At least 23species breed here including goliath heron and African skimmer, while African open billed stork, duck and gulls feed on the shores and the volcanic island lakes attract lesser flamingos. Birds of prey are also abundant, especially swallow-tailed kites.
 
The largest permanent desert lake in the world, lake Turkana is an isolated chlorocarbonate alkaline giant covering 6,400sq km. Its mercurial blue –green colour has earned it the title.
 
 The vegetation is scant, but some of the sheltered areas are overgrown with thick grass and bushes for a short period each year.
 
Scorching hot and arid {especially December –march}. June and July are the coolest months. May –September very strong winds blow morning and evening. Rainfall is less than 250 mm p.a, and in some places, it may not rain for several years.
 
South Turkana National Reserve
South Turkana National Reserve (1091 sq. kms.) and Nasalot National Reserve (92 sq. kms.) Those who are looking for a taste of the real
African adventure in one of the remotest parts of Kenya may proceed along Kitale-Lodwar road and half-way through visit the south Turkana and Nasalot National reserves before venturing further north to the country of Turkana tribesmen to see the marvels of nature: The great concentrations of crocodile in Lake Turkana and the dwarf El-Molo tribesmen who feast on the reptiles.
 
Tana River Primate Reserve
The Tana River National Primate Reserve was gazetted in 1976 to protect the Lower Tana riverine forests and two highly endangered primates, the Mangabey and the Tana River Red Colobus. The reserve consists mainly of patches of riperian forests extending for 16km along the meandering course of the lower tana river, 350km east of Nairobi and 240km north of Mombasa. At the time of establishment, the reserve occupied approximately 171 Km of forest, dry woodland and savanna habitat on the East and West of the Lower Tana River. 16 patches of forests ranging ftom 10 to 625 ha. in size fall within the reserve.
 
The Tana riverine forest is of high diversity with nearly 300 tree species recorded. The vegatation consists of a complex mix of Pan-African, West and Central African rain forest species, East Coastal forest endemics, and species with extra-African affinities. The forests form part of a mosaic of habitats that include grassland, wooded grassland, bushland and deciduous woodland.
 
The lowland evergreen forests are patchy, of different successional stages and are dependant on groundwater supplied by the river.
 
The dry plains are dominated by Dobera and Salvadora. Grasses include Chloris, Sporobolus, and Panicum with a flood-plain bushland of Terminalia, and Acacia with Garcinia.
The forest has 10 rare woody plants 5 of which are endemic. At least 61 plants are globally or nationally rare, notable species include Anisocycla blepharosepala, dichapetalu; sp. Cynometra lukei, Cyphostemma ternatum, Synsepalum msolo, Tylophora stenoloba, Pavetta sphaerobotrys, tanaica and Uncaria africana. Charecteristic trees include Ficus spp, Phoenix reclinata, Acacia robusta, Populus ilicifolia, Blighia unijugata, Sorindeia madagascariensis, Diospyros mespiliformis and Mimusops obtusifolia, Chlorophora sp, sterculia sp, and albizia sp. Other flora include: Rhus quartiniana, Maerua triphylla, Commiphora riparia, Combretum tanaensis, and Terminalia brevipes. Important species for the red colobus are Sorindeia obtusifoliolata, Acacia robusta and Ficus sycomorus.
 
The Kakamega Forest Reserve
The Kakamega Forest Reserve covers an area of about 240 km2 and was established to protect the only mid altitude tropical rainforest in Kenya, a remnant and eastern limit of rainforests of Zaire and West Africa. Its West African affinities are unique in Kenya and the forest contains many species found nowhere else in the country.
 
The forest lies in the Lake Victoria catchment, about 40km north of Kisumu and just east of the Nandi Escarpment that forms the edge of the central highlands. It was first gazetted as a trust forest in 1933 and two small Nature Reserves, Yala and Isecheno were established within the forest reserve in 1967. In 1986 nearly 4,000ha of the northern portion of the forest together with the adjacent Kisere Forest were gazetted as Kakamega Forest National Reserve.
 
The forest is an important water catchment area with the Isiukhu and Yala rivers flowing through it. The terrain is undulating with often steep sided river valleys. The soils are well-drained, deep, heavily leached clay loams and clays of generally low fertility.
 
Kenya's only tropical rain forest with unique endemic and endangered species of mammals, birds, Butterflies, Snakes.
 
Kakamega Forest Reserve was established to protect the only mid altitude tropical rainforest in Kenya, a remnant and eastern limit of the Congo-West African equatorial rainforest. The fairly dense rainforest is interspersed with grassy glades, where the soil is too shallow to support forest trees. To the east, north, west and south-west is wet Combretum woodland, a secondary succession following the clearing of rainforest.
The vegetation has 380 species of plants spread in swarnps, riverine forests, high forest, glades and secondary forest at the periphery of the reserve. There are few endemics, the only woody endemic being the liana tiliacora kenyensis, but the forest contains many species found nowhere else in Kenya including 13 out of a total of 62 recorded species of Pteridophyte. Genera include Renealmia, Pisonia, Pollia, and Voacanga.
Kakamega has a rich diversity of trees with at least 125 species of tree identified. Common genera include croton, celtis, trema, antaris, bequaertiodendron and zanthoxylum. The forest also contains the major (giant) forest trees Aningueria altissima, Cordia millenii, Entandrophragma angolense, and Maesopsis eminii, with an average height of 30-40m and a maximum of 70m.
 
Other central-west African forest trees and shrubs only recorded from this reserve in Kenya include Bequaertiodendron oblanceolatum, Cassipourea ruwenzoriensis, Chrysophyllum albidum, Leea guineense, Monodora myristica, Uncaria africana, Uvariopsis congensis, Zanthoxylum leprieurii, and Z. mildbraedii.
 
Annual rainfall is over 2000mm. Most of this rain falls between April and November with a short dry season from December to March. Rain falls mostly in the afternoon or early evening and is often accompanied by heavy thunderstorms. Average temperatures remain similar throughout - between 15oC and 28oC.
 
The Samburu Game Reserve
The Samburu Game Reserves are the most accessible of the Northern Frontier faunal sanctuaries.  The Samburu Reserve covers an area of 104 sq km (40 sq miles) on the northern bank of the Uaso Nyiro River, with a river frontage of 16km (10miles). The adjoining Buffalo Springs of 194 sq km (75sq miles) lies on the southern bank of the same 16km (10miles) stretch. A bridge across the Uaso Nyiro River a couple of miles upstream of the Samburu Lodge connects the two reserves, and it is convenient to treat them as a single until, together with the recently created Shaba Reserve
 
The Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves are traversed by the Uaso Nyiro River. The beautiful scenery and the wildlife along the banks of this river are some of its major attractions. The strips of the riverine forest, thickets and clusters of tall leathery Doum Palms create a lively habitat for many species, particularly primates.
 
Permanent water available from the 32 km (20 miles) of river ensures that an abundance of wildlife exists in the Reserves at all times. The main attractions are Reticulated Giraffe, Grevy’s Zebra, Beisa Oryx, the blue-necked Somali Ostrich and crocodiles in the river. Elephant are plentiful and Black Rhinoceros, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Gerenuk, Buffalo and the two species of hyenas are to be seen. Among the smaller mammals the Ground Squirrel abundant and tame.
 
For such a relatively small area the birdlife is strikingly numerous and colourful; there is no difficulty in seeing well over a hundred species of birds in a single day. Perhaps the most impressive sight is the immense flocks of Helmeted and Vulturine Guinea-fowls which make their way each afternoon to the river-bank to drink, the latter resplendent with white-streaked necks and brilliant blue underparts.
 
The landscape, wildlife and vegetation is every different to the lush, rolling grasslands of other National Parks
 
Hot and dry climate during the day and cool during the night. There is a maximum annual mean temperature of 30 degrees C and a minimum of 18-22 degrees C. the annual rainfall is between 255-510mm.
 
Emerging starkly from the lake’s waters, Central Island is made up of three active volcanoes, still belching sulphurous smoke and steam while three crater lakes, crocodile lake, flamingo lake and tilapia lake, provide breeding grounds {between April and May} for the world’s largest concentration of Nile crocodiles {estimated to number around 12,000}
 
Turkana is home to some of the world’s most venomous reptiles, including saw scaled viper, night and puff adder and cobra. There are also many species of fish including huge Nile perch and large tilapia. Puffer fish, a group normally found in seawater, indicate Turkana’s prehistoric connection to the red sea.
 
The islands are home to a profusion of birdlife {over 84 water bird species}, including 34 species of European migrants most spectacularly viewed as they return home between march and may. At least 23species breed here including goliath heron and African skimmer, while African open billed stork, duck and gulls feed on the shores and the volcanic island lakes attract lesser flamingos. Birds of prey are also abundant, especially swallow-tailed kites.
 
The largest permanent desert lake in the world, lake Turkana is an isolated chlorocarbonate alkaline giant covering 6,400sq km. Its mercurial blue –green colour has earned it the title.
The vegetation is scant, but some of the sheltered areas are overgrown with thick grass and bushes for a short period each year
Scorching hot and arid {especially December –march}. June and July are the coolest months. May –September very strong winds blow morning and evening. Rainfall is less than 250 mm p.a, and in some places, it may not rain for several years.
 
Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park covers an area of about 12,000 km2, 40% of Kenya's parks' total area. This vast park lies in low semi arid country at the eastern edge of the inland plateau, north of the main Mombasa-Nairobi road and railway. Much of the park is level, open country with scattered rocky ridges and outcrops. Due to its size, the park is one of the world's wildlife and biodiversity strongholds.
The Yatta plateau, a long, flat topped lava ridge, runs along the western boundary of the park. Beneath it flows the Athi river which joins the Tsavo river, just above the Lugard falls, to become the Galana river, a permanent river that cuts right across the park. The seasonal Tiva and Voi rivers are important features of the Northern and Southern sectors respectively. There are scattered seasonal pools, swamps and dams, but relatively few sources of permanent water.
 
One of the great spectacles of the park is the Mudanda rock between Voi and Manyani. This 1 1/2 km long outcrop is a water catchment area which supplies a natural dam at its base. In the dry season, hundreds of elephants come to drink and bathe here.
 
Though the vegetation can generally be categorised as bushed grassland, the park has open plains alternating with savanna bush and semi-arid acacia scrub and woodlands. There are also belts of riverine vegetation. The vegetation is generally denser in the west where rainfall is around 450mm per year than in the drier east, which may receive only around 250mm. Along the rivers is a narrow fringe of woodland and thicket dominated by acacia elatior, the doum palm - hyphaene compressa and the shrub, suaeda monoica. The northern part of the park is predominantly more or less dense acacia commiphora woodland. South of the Galana, the park has been opened out over the years by fire and elephants to form open bushed grassland. Common shrubs here include species of Premna, bauhinia and sericocomopsis and scattered trees such as delonix elata and melia volkensii. The Yatta plateau has a cover of dense bushland with strands of Baobab - adansonia digitata.
 
Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West national park covers 9000 km2, approximately 30% of Kenya's area under parks, and contains a diversity of habitats, wildlife and a mountainous scenic landscape. The park is a vast expanse of savanna stretching from the Athi river, North of the Mombasa-Nairobi road and south to the Tanzanian border. The North Eastern boundary along the Athi adjoins Tsavo East National Park, but Tsavo West has a more varied topography and a more diverse array of habitats than its neighbour.
 
The park's habitats include open plains alternating with Savannah bush and semi desert scrub, acacia woodlands; rocky ridges and outcrops and more extensive ranges and isolated hills; belts of rivernie vegetation; palm thickets and on the Chyulu hills, mountain forest. There are numerous rocky outcrops and ridges and part of the park, towards the Chyulu Hills, is of recent volcanic origin with are many lava flows and ash cones including the Shaitani lava flow, an example of a recent volacano.
 
In the far south western corner on the Kenya Tanzania border is Lake Jipe, part of which is in the park. This very attractive lake is fed by runoff from Mt Kilimanjaro and the North Pare mountains. At Mzima Springs, in the North of the park, water that has filtered underground from the Chyulu Hills gushes from below a lava ridge into a series of clear pools.
 
Most of the northern sector is acacia commiphora bushland with scattered trees such as baobabs - adansonia digitata and delonix elata. In the Ngulia area, a range of craggy hills reaches around 1800m and is heavily wooded. The southern sector consists of open grassy plains. The permanent tsavo river runs through the northern part of the park with a fringe of riverine acacia elatior and hyphaene compressa woodland. Lake Jipe is bordered by extensive beds to Typha and has large permanent swamps at its eastern and western ends. Mzima springs, is fringed by Raphia farinifera and Phoenix reclinata palms.
 
Watamu Marine National Park
Watamu National Park is part of a complex of marine and tidal habitats on Kenyas North coast stretching from Malindi town to beyond the entrance to Mida creek. It is enclosed by the Malindi Marine National Reserve which also encloses Malindi Marine National Park. Habitats include intertidal rock, sand and mud; fringing reefs and coral gardens; beds of sea grass; coral cliffs, platforms and islets; sandy beaches and Mida Creek mangrove forest. The park was designated as a Biosphere reserve in 1979.
 
Mida creek is a large, almost land locked expanse of saline water, mangrove and intertidal mud. Its extensive forests are gazetted as forest reserves and the extreme western tip of Mida Creek is part of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve.
 
Mida creek has important mangrove forests with a high diversity of species including ceriops tagal, rhizophora mucronata, bruguiera gymnorrhiza, avicennia marina and sonneratia alba.
Warm climate
 
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